Former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges of electoral fraud pressed against her in connection with the 2007 elections.
Arroyo, currently under detention at a military hospital where she is undergoing treatment for a rare spinal condition, was escorted to a court in capital Manila under heavy security to enter her plea.
Her husband, Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, was quoted as telling reporters outside the court room that she "feels the case is an injustice." He, however, did not elaborate.
Arroyo, 64, was arrested from the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City, Metro Manila, by the National Capital Region Police in November 2011 after she moved the Philippine Supreme Court seeking permission to leave the country for treatment of a rare bone disease.
A former university professor, Arroyo was detained after a court issued a warrant for her arrest on charges of manipulating the results of the 2007 senat elections to get the ruling party candidates elected.
Arroyo, who survived four coup attempts and four impeachment bids since assuming power in 2001, was unable to run for the Presidency for a third term in 2010, but won a seat in the Parliament in the May, 2011 elections.
She had been under investigation since August 2011 for suspected fraud and corruption during her decade-long rule. Electoral sabotage is a non-bailable offense in the Philippines punishable by life imprisonment.
by RTT Staff Writer
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